If you're struggling to get pregnant, a new clinical trial testing uterus transplants could offer hope. The experimental surgery is still in its early stages, but it could one day help infertile women carry their own babies. Learn more about the trial and see if it's right for you.

U.S. uterus transplants: experimental surgery could help infertile women get pregnant

In a first-of-its-kind surgery, a team of doctors in the United States has transplanted a uterus into a woman who was born without one. The 26-year-old patient, who has been identified only as Lindsey, is doing well and is expected to be discharged from the hospital in a few days. The surgery, which was performed at the Cleveland Clinic, is part of a clinical trial to test whether uterus transplantation is a safe and effective way to help women with uterine factor infertility (UFI) have children.

Up to now, the only way for women with UFI to have children has been to use a surrogate mother or to adopt. Uterus transplantation could offer them another option.

The surgery involves attaching the donor uterus to the recipient’s fallopian tubes and blood vessels. The transplanted uterus is then connected to the recipient’s veins and arteries. The surgery takes about six to eight hours to complete.

The recipient will have to take immunosuppressive drugs to prevent her body from rejecting the transplanted uterus. She will also have to undergo in-vitro fertilization (IVF) to get pregnant.

Once the recipient has given birth, the transplanted uterus will be removed. The hope is that the recipient will be able to have a successful pregnancy and delivery without any long-term complications.

The clinical trial is still in its early stages, and it will be several years before we know whether uterus transplantation is a safe and effective way to help women with UFI have children. But the surgery offers hope to many women who have been unable to have children of their own.

Originally published on 13 November, 2015

A team in Ohio is spearheading an experimental surgery, the first of its kind in the U.S., that may prove to be significant for infertile women wishing to carry a baby to full term.

The New York Times reports that the Cleveland Clinic is starting trials for a uterine transplant procedure that could help some 50,000 women born without a uterus or with uterus problems, get pregnant.

The team began screening candidates in September. Ten women, aged 21-39, will undergo the procedure following extensive medical and psychological evaluation. Once a patient is approved for the procedure, she is given hormones to stimulate egg production. Multiple eggs are fertilized in vitro and the embryos are frozen.

When a suitable donor is found, the uterus, cervix, and part of the vagina is removed and must be transplanted into the pelvis within six to eight hours. The uterus is connected to the recipient’s vagina, and the uterine vessels, normally wound around the ureters, are redirected to the larger blood vessels around the pelvis.

A year later, embryos are implanted one at a time into the fully-healed uterus until the patient becomes pregnant. After giving birth to one or two babies via C-section, the transplanted uterus will be removed to prevent patients from having to continuously take anti-rejection drugs, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

In Sweden, nine uterine transplants from live donors resulted in five pregnancies and four live births. In the U.S., deceased organ donors will be used to minimize complications.


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